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Chase Headley Rumors
The Padres' 6-15 record is the second-worst in baseball and fans are starting to get impatient, judging by the tone of several questions (or just outright rants) posed to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune during his latest online chat. Here are a few of the hot stove notes from Center…
- Some fans are calling for a fire sale but Center points out that such a move wouldn't be prudent given how many Padres are underachieving. "Even if the Padres started unloading players, what would they get for what they have? Unfortunately, they couldn't sell high in very many areas right now. Honestly, unloading might only make it worse," Center writes.
- Chase Headley is perhaps the only Padre that would fetch a premium return on the trade market, though Headley himself has struggled (.547 OPS) since returning from the DL. Center notes that Headley's struggles could actually help the Padres long-term since it would lower Headley's price on a possible extension.
- Since Headley is under team control through next season, Center doesn't think the Friars need to decide on the third baseman until mid-2014. That said, losing Headley "might be a major blow to the new owners' already weakening perception among fans." MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at a few of the teams who might be interested in acquiring Headley should San Diego put him on the market this summer.
- Center speculates that Carlos Quentin could be open to waiving his no-trade clause if he was dealt to an AL club where he could serve as a designated hitter.
- Josh Byrnes was given permission by team management to pursue a trade for Justin Upton this past winter. The Diamondbacks wanted a package from the Padres that would've included Headley "and more" Major League talent, not only prospects. Ultimately the D'Backs had concerns about dealing Upton to a division rival and the talks led nowhere. Any San Diego/Arizona trade, of course, contains some extra baggage given that Byrnes used to be the Diamondbacks' GM and Kevin Towers is a former Padres general manager.
- Firing Bud Black may not be the answer, as Center believes Black "has the same ingredients" as former Padres manager Bruce Bochy. Despite Bochy's four division titles in 12 years as Padres' manager, the club let him go to the Giants, where he has since won two World Series championships.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley aims to make his 2013 season debut this week after fracturing his thumb in March. Headley, who turns 29 in May, has a lot of factors conspiring to make him a trade candidate this summer:
- He's very good at baseball. Headley's baseball card numbers last year were fantastic: 31 home runs and 115 RBIs. He finished fifth in the NL MVP vote and snagged a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He was worth 7.2 wins above replacement, sixth among all position players last year.
- To date, the Padres have not signed him to a long-term contract extension. There's good reason for this. As a player who came into his power later in his team-controlled career, Headley wasn't necessarily worth extending until this past offseason. Now, with only one season of more than 12 home runs on his resume, it's likely difficult to pin down a fair offer for both sides. Still, star-caliber non-Boras guys with four-plus years of big league service who are not locked up are a rarity. 2014 will be Headley's contract year, so he may prefer to just play it out and get a piece of that free agent pie.
- Headley is more than a rental, since he's under control through 2014. Teams strongly prefer that when giving up top prospects in trades. The general logic is that the Padres can get more for Headley this summer than during the offseason (assuming he plays decently upon his return). Plus, even though the Padres have not reached an extension agreement with Headley, that exclusive extension window is valuable to some teams.
- Though only 7.4% of their season is in the books, the Padres are not looking like contenders, with a 2-10 record. This can change, of course, but the team would need to play .580 ball from here on out to reach 89 wins.
This raises the question: which contenders could use a middle of the order third baseman?
- The Yankees have Kevin Youkilis under contract, though Headley would be a better option at the hot corner. Youk can also play first base, but Mark Teixeira will be back manning that position by the time trading season rolls around. Travis Hafner seems a nice fit as the semi-regular designated hitter. With his recovery from hip surgery and the Biogenesis situation, the Yankees shouldn't count on Alex Rodriguez for anything, but if he is able to play this year it will further clog up the third base and DH spots. So while Headley would be nice to have, it'd be complicated, unless the Yankees suffer new injuries.
- The Blue Jays are all-in this year, and if they gain some comfort with the idea of Brett Lawrie at second base, they could add Headley and keep Jose Bautista in right field.
- The Royals appear set at third base with Mike Moustakas, but they could upgrade to Headley and include Moustakas in the trade. This is another team that has invested a lot in winning now.
- It's a similar situation for the Indians and Lonnie Chisenhall — it seems like he'd have to be part of the deal for them to make sense.
- Jeff Keppinger has been pressed into second base duty for the White Sox following Gordon Beckham's injury. But either player could shift to a utility role with a Headley acquisition, or Beckham could be part of the deal.
- The Athletics have Josh Donaldson at third base, but Headley would be an upgrade. Same goes for the Angels and Alberto Callaspo.
- The National League is light on good trade partners for Headley at present, but the Braves are an obvious match. He'd be a huge addition for a team that is looking great in the early going.
- I won't completely rule out the Orioles, Cardinals, Pirates, Rockies, or Dodgers. But whether due to third base incumbents or the reduced chances of an intra-division trade, these teams seem unlikely.
The nine top names to watch in Los Angeles baseball in 2013 include Chase Headley and Robinson Cano, argues Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Headley could be an in-season trade target for the Dodgers, and Cano will likely be connected to the Dodgers as a free agent next winter. Shaikin also suggests that if the Dodgers don't do well in 2013, they could try to hire Rays GM Andrew Friedman. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Mariners' decision to keep Jason Bay and designate Casper Wells for assignment doesn't make sense, Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner says. Sullivan notes that Wells is younger, had four years of team control remaining, and has recently been the better player on both offense and defense — and the Mariners will likely lose him for virtually nothing. "Wells, probably, is going to end up getting traded to a team with a thin outfield in exchange for a non-roster barely-prospect," Sullivan says. Sullivan also points out that Wells was one of the key players in the Doug Fister deal with the Tigers. The Tigers already looked like clear winners in that trade, but it's even clearer now.
- The Giants' signing of Buster Posey to an eight-year, $159MM contract demonstrates the inequities between the Giants and the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants have opposed the Athletics' move to San Jose. "It's more than mildly ironic that the Giants granted a single player a contract that exceeds the A's entire payroll by a factor of three," says San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo.
- The trade of Vernon Wells to the Yankees gave the Angels additional payroll flexibility, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. The deal leaves the Angels about $6MM under the luxury tax threshold, Gonzalez reports.
The Padres received some bad news earlier today when they found out that Chase Headley will miss a month of action with a fractured thumb, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Here's some more out of baseball's Western divisions…
- Kyle McClellan will not exercise the out clause in his minor league deal with the Rangers despite the fact that he might not pitch in a game for eight weeks, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. McClellan is on the shelf with a strained muscle in his rib cage but will remain with the Rangers as he rehabs from his injury.
- The Giants expect Yusmeiro Petit to accept his outright assignment to Triple-A Fresno, reports Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Petit was outrighted off the 40-man roster last night but can elect to become a free agent rather than accept the assignment.
- D-backs top prospect Tyler Skaggs was among the players optioned to Triple-A today, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Skaggs was one of the players that Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic profiled in a piece that examines some of the roster decisions manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers will be facing as Spring Training draws to a close.
- Angels backstop Hank Conger called today's signing of Chris Snyder "more motivation to come out and try to do my job," tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Halos inked Snyder earlier today following his release from the Nationals.
The Padres haven’t settled on a long-term strategy for handling Chase Headley, but they aren’t going to trade him any time soon. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears from a high-ranking NL West executive that the Padres front office will see how the team plays before determining whether to trade Headley or pursue an extension with him.
Padres general manager Josh Byrnes recently told Peter Gammons of MLB Network that he doesn't intend to trade impact offensive players such as Headley. However, some evaluators aren’t convinced that the third baseman will replicate his breakout 2012 season, Martino reports.
The Yankees are considering corner infielders and, on paper, seem like a possible suitor for Headley. As they wait for the Padres to determine a course of action with Headley, the Yankees will look to the Astros for potential trade targets, Martino reports. The Astros have depth at first base and could move a player such as Carlos Pena.
Headley, 28, posted a .286/.376/.498 batting line with 31 home runs in 2012. He'll earn $8.575MM in 2013 and will remain under team control through 2014.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that some league executives feel that the new-and-improved PED testing will have a drastic effect on the power numbers of players. That feeling has given some owners pause about committing long-term deals until they know how it will all play out. “We’re all anxious to see what the result of the testing will be, but we’re anticipating that it will have a significant effect on the numbers, which will impact the game in general,” said an American League owner. “I think a few owners feel the way we do, that we’re going to see noticeable physical changes in players and their stamina in getting through a 162-game schedule.” Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Yankees have explored temporary options to fill-in for the injured Mark Teixeira but they have also looked into more significant moves. The Bombers have inquired on the Padres' Chase Headley, though we learned recently that he's not available at this time. However, Headley could be on the market this summer.
- If shortstop Jose Iglesias continues to hit in spring training, Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox might be open to dealing Stephen Drew down the line. The Cardinals pursued Drew this offseason and they are looking for help with Rafael Furcal sidelined. Drew cannot be traded until June 15 without his approval.
- Teams have a number of reasons why they say they are not interested in Kyle Lohse, but Cafardo isn't buying any of them. He feels that some team will happily give him a one-year, $10MM contract. He would be a great fit in tfhe National League and Cafardo suggests the Brewers as a good fit.
- There is more interest in Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly than fellow surplus starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they know that Chad Billingsley is fully recovered after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason.
- A National League scout suggested that Phillies outfielder John Mayberry might be a good fit for the Yankees at first base, with a switch back to the outfield after Teixeira returns. Mayberry is a former first baseman and was used there last season when Ryan Howard was out of action.
Teams hoping to trade for Chase Headley will have to wait — at least for a few months. Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told Peter Gammons of MLB Network that San Diego executives have worked hard to assemble an improved offensive team. “We're not breaking it up now," Byrnes said (Twitter links). As Gammons notes, it’s possible the Padres will re-consider their stance in July. Here are some notes from around MLB…
- Carlos Marmol’s name surfaced in trade talk this week, but said today that he expects to be with the Cubs all year despite the rumors. "I don't believe in anything," he said, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he intends to keep managing as long as he can, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). "I'm not retiring, whether we win or we don't win," Leyland said. The 68-year-old obtained a one-year contract from the Tigers after leading the team to the World Series.
- Many of the teams expected to contend in 2013 are already facing significant questions, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com writes. The Tigers (closer), Cardinals (shortstop), Yankees (lineup), Rangers (rotation) and Dodgers (outfield) have issues to address this spring.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka can opt out of his deal with the Indians on March 26th, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka may be the next Japanese pitcher to turn a strong World Baseball Classic performance into a nine-figure Major League contract, ESPN's C.J. Nitkowski writes (Insider subscription required). Tanaka, 24, has a 2.50 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 4.34 K/BB ratio in 1103 IP over six seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka has expressed interest in pitching in North America and is three years away from international free agency, though Rakuten could open the posting process before then.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- The Padres are starting to listen to offers for Chase Headley, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports. The Padres tabled extension talks with Headley earlier this winter after the two sides were far apart on terms. The third baseman is under contract through the 2014 season and Madden argues that the Yankees should make a move for a young star like Headley or Giancarlo Stanton in order to bolster the lineup and ensure the team will contend this year.
- "The fact is, this is the right time to trade Stanton. He’s never going to have more value than this," a Marlins operative tells Madden, arguing that such an unpopular move can't hurt a team that is already at rock bottom in terms of public perception. “I understand Jeffrey [Loria]’s getting killed in Miami over blowing up the team this winter and why he doesn’t want to trade Stanton. But how much more can we get killed? He’s already had some injury issues, and we’re never going to sign him to a long-term deal," Madden's source said.
- Carl Crawford criticized the Boston media and told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler that he erred in signing with the Red Sox in the 2010-11 offseason. "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either," Crawford said.
- If the Tigers do acquire a reliever, MLB.com's Jason Beck believes such a deal isn't likely until nearer to the end of Spring Training when other teams have their own bullpen situations settled.
- Chone Figgins feels a lack of playing time exacerbated his struggles with the Mariners and is looking forward to seeing more action playing under NL rules with the Marlins, The Associated Press reports.
- Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have both looked good in Spring Training and the Red Sox could reap more than financial benefits from last summer's trade with the Dodgers if these two young pitchers develop, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase also talks to Rays manager Joe Maddon about how the Rays were targeting De La Rosa before L.A. dealt him to Boston.
- The Hernandez extension may seem like an overpay, but the alternative — trading him for prospects and reallocating millions toward free agency — might be less appealing than it initially seems. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains that there’s a considerable cost for teams that attempt to rebuild regularly.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com explains how the Mariners could be viewed as both winners and losers following their deal with Hernandez. There's no ambiguity about the significance of the deal for Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and David Price, however; those three pitchers could be positioned for $200MM contracts, as Olney notes.
- Verlander exclaimed "Holy cow!" after hearing the news of Hernandez's deal with the Mariners, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Verlander will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, and Nightengale notes that Verlander could be "baseball's first $200 million pitcher."
- Mike MacDougal will throw a bullpen for interested teams in Tempe this coming Tuesday, MLBTR has learned. The 35-year-old right-hander appeared in just seven games with Dodgers in 2012, but he posted a 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances with Los Angeles in 2011.
- The Padres should "seriously think" about trading Chase Headley before the start of the regular season, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden writes (subscription-only). Bowden notes that Headley is a free agent after 2014, and that he and the Padres haven't found common ground on a contract extension. Bowden lists the Reds, Mariners, Pirates, Blue Jays, Angels, Yankees and Tigers as possible trade destinations for Headley.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports lists the Blue Jays, Reds, Nationals and Braves as winners this offseason, while placing the Rangers, Brewers and Yankees among the losers. The Blue Jays top the list of winners after trading for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey.
- Last night Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts and I discussed the Hernandez deal and the most improved teams in the league on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Chase Headley avoided arbitration with the Padres by agreeing to a one-year, $8.575MM contract for 2013, and it has been widely assumed that the club would also explore a multiyear extension with its third baseman. San Diego GM Josh Byrnes said that the two sides had tabled extension talks for now, and Headley confirmed that there was a significant gap between his demands and what the Padres were willing to offer.
“We talked about a long-term contract briefly at the start of these negotiations,” Headley told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It was a quick discussion. We weren’t on the same page right from the start. This close to free agency, it has to be a good deal for us. You can’t sacrifice what’s fair.
“If we can do something that makes sense, I’d love to stay a Padre.”
Headley, 28, has one remaining arb-eligible year and is set to become a free agent following the 2014 season. Over 70.1% of voters in a recent MLBTR Poll said that the Padres would be wise to lock Headley up to a long-term contract, and while the team has had trouble keeping its top stars over the years, the Padres' new ownership group is known to want to reverse this trend, beginning with Headley. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested earlier this offseason that Headley could command a four-year deal worth between $41-$50MM.